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Culomalo

My Tree

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     My oak tree is probably 75 years old. The base of the tree is 6 feet on my side of the property line, but the stump grows on an angle towards the property line. at about the 10 foot height the tree crosses the property line then grows straight up from there. My wonderful neighbors are building a new house and have asked me if they could trim or cut down my tree. The tree is in good health and is home to many birds and squirrels and provides shade to my porch and dock. I have owned this property for 2 years and since I have bought it they have asked the question "What are you going to do with that tree?". I don't plan to remove the tree until it dies.

     Can they legally trim my tree?

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Hi @Culomalo

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! Your neighbor has the right, by law, to trim your trees only if they hang over his property or otherwise encroach. From your description of the facts, it sounds like your tree does not overhang your property, so your neighbor cannot trim your tree without your express permission.

 

Our Learn About the Law section has some great materials about Neighbors and Trees that you can review.

 

Best of luck and let us know if you have additional questions!

The FindLaw.com Team

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I interpret the post as saying the trunk of the tree overhangs the neighnor's property.  In fact, it sounds like the majority of the tree is over the neighbor's property.  The description also seems to indicate that the base of the tree is leaning fairly steeply toward the neighbor's property.  Whether the neighbor can cut the tree to the property line is  a question of Indiana law and I don't practice there so i can't comment on that.  However, the risk of removing the tree would be on the neighbor if he acted unilaterally.

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20 hours ago, Culomalo said:

The base of the tree is 6 feet on my side of the property line, but the stump grows on an angle towards the property line. at about the 10 foot height the tree crosses the property line then grows straight up from there.

 

I'm uncertain what the distinction is between the tree's "base," which you say is "6 feet on [your] side of the property line," and the tree's "stump," which you seem to indicate grows over the property line.  In any event, I interpret your post similar to "RetiredinVA" -- i.e., that a substantial portion of the tree exists on the neighbor's side of the property line.  While I don't know the specifics of Indiana law, the general rule is that a person in your neighbor's position may legally trim all parts of the tree that encroach on his property, unless doing so would damage the tree as a whole.  That trimming it might displace local fauna isn't relevant.

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